Fall Quarantine Self-Care Must-Haves!

Hey friends!

September has just begun and fall is upon us! While it’s kind of sad to see summer go, I love fall and I can’t help but to get excited for the season. While I love summer for it’s warm weather and carefree vibes, fall has so many specific elements I just love — Halloween (my favourite holiday!), Thanksgiving, cozy vibes, falling leaves, fall-themed food and drinks and superior fashion. (Oh, and my birthday, of course!).

However, this year, it seems fall is probably going to be a little different. In Vancouver (and I’m sure in many other places around the world), COVID-19 is still prevalent with flu season about to start ramping up, it seems more likely than not that we’re going to start seeing more restrictions, lockdowns and work-from-home. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not exactly looking forward to it — I feel as though it’ll probably be a lot more challenging the second time through. Between the cooler and darkening weather, potential seasonal depression, uncertainty and restlessness of a second quarantine, it definitely seems like we may have a rough few months ahead.

Rather than fearing it, though, I’m trying to embrace it — life is unpredictable even at the best of times, so who knows what’s coming next — so why worry now when things are still good? It’s not always possible to avoid anxiety about the future, but right now there’s no need to be negative now about situations that don’t exist in the present. Besides, half the fun of fall is staying in and being cozy — so while we may miss out on certain elements this year, it’s not the end of the world.

Either way, fall self-care is absolutely some of my favourites — there’s just something about the season that caters SO well to self-care concepts. Nights in, getting cozy — it’s just such a vibe. And while I already believe that self-care is more than a luxury and should be practiced even in the most normal of times, with everything going on in the world, I think we have a bit of an excuse to really indulge this fall. So if you’ve been looking for some new to spice up your self-care routine, look no further for your latest inspo! I’ve got you covered.

Soothing Body Moisturizer

While dry skin isn’t as much of a concern in Vancouver as it is elsewhere in Canada (after all, our Fall and Winter seasons are full of rain and humidity), it’s still important to take good care of your skin. Personally, I’ve been LOVING this body cream by Deew I found at Indigo — it’s full of essential oils, vitamins, and Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil making it uber-relaxing to apply. Not only does this cream keep your skin feeling super soft, it’s made in Canada with ethically sourced materials (meaning you can feel guilt-free about splurging on one for yourself). I apply this cream daily after showering or before bed, and it really does help to calm me right down after a long day. 10/10, would totally recommend.

Skincare Tools 

Some of you may remember the segment I did a few weeks back on my favourite skincare tools — but seriously, these tools are the perfect way to keep up a small self-care ritual morning and night while also taking care of your complexion. My personal favourites are Mount Lai’s Gua Sha (which I have recently purchased for myself, and adore) and Textured Jade Roller, as well as Herbivore’s Rose Quartz Facial Roller. If you don’t have any sort of skincare tool, I can’t recommend them more — they’re great for your skin, incredibly relaxing, can help massage out any knots in your face and as they are made from crystals, they last forever. I’d definitely have to recommend splurging on one as a little self-care gift to yourself.

Fall Scented Candles

Ah, candles. The ultimate decor for cozy vibes and self-care. While I usually use a diffuser for more day-to-day aroma use, I love scented candles for special occasions. They’re great to light during a self-care night, or when you’re settling in for a bath, or just need to burn off any negative vibes in your space. Investing in a couple good fall-scented candles is a good, universal form of self-care and really set the mood for the upcoming Fall season.

Fall Teas

Anyone who knows me knows that I am OBSESSED with tea. As in, 3-4 cups of tea every day kind of obsessed. My favourite place to get tea is hands down David’s Tea — not only is the amount of selection they offer completely unparalleled, but their teas are SO high quality, too. They offer all kinds of flavours of specialty fall teas, and I’d totally recommend picking up a few to brew up on cool fall nights amp up the cozy vibes of your self care night. While David’s Tea offers endless great selections, if you’re going to only get one fall tea — I’d have to recommend Forever Nuts. It’s not fall-specific, but has a flavour that’s fitting for the Autumn season and is absolutely one of their best teas of all time.

Cute Plants

On top of being a dedicated tea lover, I’ve also been dubbed as a crazy plant mom. Not only do I have plants all over my apartment, but I take great care in keeping them healthy and thriving. I’ve found this to be especially useful in lockdown, however. Not only does having the plants give you something to actively care for — the fruits of your efforts are something that become visible with time and leave you feeling accomplished. Also, while I’m not 100% sure of the science behind this, I’ve heard that having more indoor plants helps to decrease depression. As humans, we weren’t really made to be cooped up inside all of the time, and having plants helps to simulate a little more of a natural environment. Or something like that — I don’t really know, but they make cute decor and anything that helps combat seasonal depression is worth a shot, right?

Fall Decor 

My favourite part about the last few months of the year is absolutely the seasonal decorating that comes with it. The photo above is of a couple of the decorations I bought last year — but this year, I’m going to go all out. After all, if I’m going to be inside all the time, I might as well take advantage and make sure I get to experience all the fall I can, considering there’s certain things I’ll likely be missing out on this year. So basically, catch me at the local corner store buying all the pumpkins, leaves, gourds, and anything else fall-related I can get my hands on.

Face Masks

No, not the kind you wear to the supermarket. I’m talking about skincare masks. Before we all get locked in, be sure to stock up on a couple nice multi-use face masks (and maybe even some sheet masks too!) to ensure you have enough to get through all the rough days, self-care nights, and lockdown breakouts over the course of the next few months. I’d totally recommend checking out some of my personal faves, such as Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Mask, Dr Jart+’s Lover Rubber Masks, or one of my new faves — Biossance’s Squalane + Tea Tree Oil Detox Mask! (Stay tuned this Thursday to read all about it!).

Bath Soaks

Is there anything more relaxing than a good old-fashioned bath? While bath bombs have been all the rage for a while now, I used to love salt-soaks as a kid and wanted to give them another shot. I’m super excited to try out these salt soaks by Rocky Mountain Soap Co. that I picked up at Indigo the other day — the scents sound heavenly and they really seem like exactly what I’ve been needing lately. As we move deeper into fall, though, I know I’m really going to appreciate a warm bath on cold and rainy days — so I know I’ll be getting good use out of these soaks.

I hope all of your September’s are off to a good start! Between the latest full moon and my horoscope, I’ve been told this is going to be a month full of changes for me — which I’m welcoming with open arms. I’ve already been having a couple crazy shake-ups this month, but it’s all for the best. (And yes, that’s why I missed this Thursday’s post — my bad!). Anyway, no matter what, I’m pretty excited for fall this year, and I’m so excited for the season to be started. Fingers crossed this fall holds good things for us all!

Much love,

Meredith

A Virtual Tour Of My Bedroom Decor!

Hey y’all!

Soooooo, it finally happened! After a whole year of slowly working away at decorating my apartment, I’ve finally finished up decorating my bedroom. For those of you who’ve been following my blog since last summer, you may remember that I moved into my current apartment in September of last year. Back when I moved in, I was in the middle of a huge transitional period in my life (that I’m still only now really starting to come out of) and I really didn’t have a lot of free time to myself. Between working my full-time job, figuring out and beginning classes for my final year at UBC, and moving from campus to downtown, I was pretty much swamped. When I moved into my apartment, I had just about nothing in the way of furniture — all the furniture from my on-campus apartment had to be sold as I was subletting an apartment for the months in between moves and I had no where to keep it all.

So, September rolls around and I move into my completely empty apartment. On one hand, it was a total dream — I’ve always wanted to furnish and fully decorate my own place. But on the other hand, as I’d come to discover, decorating from scratch is no easy task. It takes a lot of coordination, planning, and effort to pull it off. My apartment is a relatively small space, so not only did I have to ensure that everything would actually fit into my apartment, I had to envision how everything would look together in the space before committing to purchasing things, and of course, I had to assemble everything myself.

This all turned out to be a MUCH larger undertaking than I anticipated. It would have been challenging at the best of times, but I generally only got one day off a week, and I had a lot of other important matters to take care of in September and October while I got settled in. On top of that, it turns out that I find visualizing spaces (for example, to imagine how my place would look with certain furniture I was considering) very difficult. I essentially had to resort to slowly acquiring one piece of furniture at a time and wait until it was arrived and assembled before I could even think about picking out something else — which, of course, ended up taking forever considering my limited amounts of free time.

However, nearly a whole year later on, my apartment has finally started to really come together. While my mailroom only feels about 50% complete, it has all the furniture it needs to be a functional for everyday use, and has a couple decorations that help to make it feel like my own. My bedroom on the other hand — well, after a whole year, it’s finally complete! While I may add a couple of other decor items here and there in the future, these things will come as I happen across them, and not because I am actively searching for them.

So, I’m going to break it all down for you bit by bit — I want to explain a little bit about where everything I found is from and my process in putting it all together. In general, I found Pinterest to be the greatest tool for generating ideas, finding decor themes, and envisioning how everything would look all together. If you’re looking to decorate a space anytime soon, it’s worth checking out — it can really be invaluable if (like me) you have a hard time visualizing how things will work out. As well, I’ve linked almost everything below — some items I didn’t buy online, or I had from before and may no longer be carried by the brand. However, I linked everything I could find and attached the company I found it at and the item list on their website for those I could not!

My Bed Area

Due to the size of my bedroom and the fact that I personally wanted the largest possible bed I could squeeze into it, the only real furniture in my bedroom is my bed and bedside table. If I had opted for a single, I guess I could have fit more — such as a desk, or a chair perhaps — but honestly, I value both my comfort and sleep FAR too much for that. Out of all the furniture in my apartment, these were definitely the two trickiest — they were big and heavy, and I ended up not being able to assemble the bed frame myself. However, it came together in the end and I could not be happier with how it turned out!

Bed: Structube

Quilt: The Bay

Throw Pillows: The Bay & Wayfair (the little white one is from Amazon and I unfortunately bought it years ago but you can find similar on almost any decor site!).

My Bedside Table

This is the one piece of furniture in my whole apartment that didn’t require assembling of any sort, which was a huge blessing honestly. While I’ve had this side table for a while now, I only just settled on the decor on top recently after I had a little epiphany to use my little marble tray here instead of where I had been using it in my bathroom storage shelves previously.

Bedside Table: Structube

Marble Tray: The Bay

Vase: Anthropologie

Diffuser: Saje

Lamp: Ikea

Aloe Plant: This was from a local grocery store, unfortunately, but there’s plenty of cute plant pots you can find just about anywhere — from Canadian Tire to Amazon to local shops!

Wall Decor

This was definitely the most stressful part of decorating my room — putting stuff up on the walls feels so permanent, so it really felt important to slowly work out exactly what I wanted. As well, I spent a loooooong time measuring out where I wanted everything to go — its so challenging to get picture frames to align perfectly, and I didn’t want to make any mistakes. This was actually the final step I took in decorating my room, but I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out — it really brought everything together.

Picture Frames: Michael’s Arts and Crafts

Wall Art: AgataCreate on Etsy (you have to print them yourself, but IMO Etsy prints are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get cute and versatile wall art).

Plant Pots: Umbra at Indigo

Final Touches

While I may not have had space for other furniture in my apartment, I still added some extra items to help bring it all together! Namely, my lamp and mirror — which were kind of necessities (there’s no ceiling lighting or other full-length mirrors in my room/apartment) and then my rug to simply help tie everything together.

Lamp: Ikea

Mirror: Ikea

Rug: Wayfair

The Finished Product!

And there you have it! It may have taken forever, but I’m absolutely in love with my room — I really love the minimalist, clean aesthetic. I find it really relaxing, which is important for me to have in my space. After all, your room is the one place that’s totally your own, and your space to wind down after a long day — I personally like mine to be a place that brings me peace and is comfortable.

Hopefully, for those of you who’ve been getting into redecorating during lockdowns, you’ve found a little inspiration from this post! If you guys have any advice for decorating in the future, please drop a comment below! I still have a little ways to go on my main room (which I’ll be sure to share with you all when it’s done) and I’d love to hear all of your best tips and tricks!

I hope you’re all having a good week! Can you believe we’re already halfway through August? On one hand, I feel like I havent even gotten a chance to enjoy summer yet, but on the other I’m honestly kind of fired up for the Fall vibes ……. I can’t be the only one who loves summer but gets crazy excited for fall come August, right?

Much love,

Meredith

Spend A Weekend With Me In Toronto!

Toronto, Canada

Hey everyone!

As some of you may already know, I spent this weekend travelling back to Toronto to spend with my family. While it was only a short trip, we still managed to pack a lot into the two and a half days I spent there. When I arrived, it seemed winter was already in full swing — not only was the weather super dry and chilly, there was already snow on the ground (which isn’t very common for Toronto Novembers). However, I still managed to make the best of the situation, with a lot of food-based restaurants and activities I have to share — for those of you looking for somewhere to plan your next weekend getaway, living in Toronto and looking for new suggestions — or just those of you curious about how my weekend went!

Meet Dmitry!

My baby, Dmitry

First of all, and most importantly — I wanted to introduce you all to my cat, Dmitry! He’s a one-year old Siberian Forest Cat, and he’s my little baby. Admittedly, I do spend a lot (if not most) of my trips home hanging out with Dmitry rather than exploring the city. (Can you blame me though? Look at that face!).

As a little introduction, Dmitry is very sweet and loving, but also a little high strung — very fond of our family and quite weary of strangers. He loves treats, whipped cream, and surprisingly enough — anything “cheese” flavoured (but not cheese itself). He’s an indoor cat, but he loves to sit on the window sill and watch squirrels. And — most importantly — he loves belly rubs.

But without further ado — lets get into the rest of the weekend!

Dinner At Montecito

Lobster Spaghetti at Montecito

This restaurant was absolutely fantastic. From start to finish — the atmosphere, the drinks, the food — just overall, it was a great experience. I had some lobster pasta that was literally just a delight — and the cocktails (while strong) were both inventive and delicious. If you need a downtown restaurant in Toronto to try out — be sure to add this place to the list.

Girl From the North Country

Set of Girl From The North Country

My mom and I spent Friday night going to see the production Girl From The North Country. It’s been an awfully long while since I’ve been to the theatre, but I used to go all the time. The storyline and production of this play was heartbreakingly beautiful — however, the best part by far was the music numbers and simply INCREDIBLE vocal talent of all the actors. The play is based on the music of Bob Dylan, so all the music was already incredible — but the singing was just next level. If you’re in Toronto and have the chance to see this production, give it a shot — I know theatre may not be your first thought on how to spend a Friday night out, but give it a shot (you won’t regret it, I promise).

Dim Sum at The Rol-San

The Rol-San, Chinatown, Toronto

Okay, if you’re ever in Toronto, the Rol-San is a must-eat. Famous for its All-Day Dim Sum and strange but efficient plastic tablecloths, you’ll seldom see the Rol-San without a line — but trust me, it’s worth the wait. This place has some of, if not THE, best Dim Sum in the entire city. If you go, be sure to get the Deep Fried Shrimp Wontons and the Shiu Mai — SO good.

Brunch At The House On Parliament

Brunch at The House

Okay, I won’t lie, I’m writing all this up for you on the plane home — and this meal is really all I can think about. All the food was absolutely next level — I’d never been here before, but I already can’t wait to go back on my next trip home. The deep-fried cheese curds were like little bites of heaven, and the soup and breakfast poutine I ordered was the most elaborate and incredible meals I’ve ever had. Seriously — you really can’t go wrong with potatoes, poached eggs, melted cheese, double smoked bacon and Hollandaise sauce, but I swear it tastes even better than you’re imagining. Absolutely 10/10, if you need a brunch place to check out in Toronto this is it. Added bonus: the Caesars were pretty fantastic too.

Shopping on Bloor Street

My Lil Sephora Haul

Last but not least, we snuck in a little last-minute shopping before heading to the airport. Shopping on Bloor Street is just a wonderful, uber-classy experience, even if you’re just hitting Sephora like always (we get it, I’m predictable). However, I did treat myself to my first ever Pat Mcgrath Labs eyeshadow palette — which I am SO excited to test out and report back with ALL the results.

And that’s it for my little weekend getaway! Now it’s back to real life for me, unfortunately. I hope you guys enjoyed reading, and if you’re from Toronto or travelling there soon — hopefully you’ve found some good recommendations from this post! If any of you guys are ever heading to Toronto for a visit, feel free to message me for any kinds of suggestions, I’d be more than happy to help.

In the mean time, I hope you’re all having a great week and you’re Novembers have been off to a great start. I have some VERY exciting holiday-themed posts coming up in the next couple weeks for you guys, so stay tuned for that! And in the meantime, have a fantastic week!

Xo,

Meredith

Bonus Pics!!!

Places To Eat: Toronto Edition!

Toronto, Ontario

Hey y’all!

This past week I’ve been back in my hometown — Toronto, Ontario! Being the largest city in Canada, Toronto is somewhat of a cultural hub and has a HUGE foodie culture. So I figured I’d share some of the places I hit up this week that have been my favourites to visit whenever I go home!

For When You’re Craving Chinese

If you’re looking for a bit of an upscale meal, Kwan is a great place to check out. Not only is it’s Chinese food to DIE for, but it has a lovely, cozy atmosphere and a great vibe overall. If you go, don’t miss out on the truffle fried rice, sesame chicken or chilli garlic shrimp — I literally order these every time I go and they’re outstanding every time.

For When You’re In The Mood For Sweets
Booyah Ice Cream

Booyah Ice cream is straight up one of my favourite places to go for cool treats in the summer. Not only do they have their own store-made ice cream, they also offer Kawartha Dairy and soft serve! Their homemade flavours are to DIE for, just the other day I got these two scoops of Earl Gray and Honey Lavander and I was in love. On top of all that, you have the option to get it in an ice cream sandwich (featuring homemade cookies) or even ice cream tacos! This place really is one of my favourites to visit in the hot Toronto summers.

For When You’re Feeling Fancy

Buca Yorkville

If you’re feeling up for something bougie and love Italian food as much as I do, Buca is a must-try. It’s a little on the pricier side, but oh man is it ever worth it. Everything here is amazing, from the appetizers to the desserts (their pine panna cotta is unreal). On top of that, the environment is amazing and the service was next level. 100% recommend for a classy night out.

For When You’re Craving Mexican
La Playa Hacienda

This place seriously has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. For years, it’s been a go-to every time I go home–I’ve been sure to introduce everyone I know and they all fell in love. The tacos are outstanding, the drinks are incredible, and if you go be sure to try the Elote–it’s a personal favourite of mine. On top of all that, the vibe here is so cool, there really isn’t anything not to love.

For When You Need Your Bubble Tea Fix
Labothéry

There’s so many amazing places to get bubble tea in Toronto, but this one is just SO fun. You get to choose for yourself from so many flavours (complete with the ability to mix and match) plus so many tapioca and jelly add-ins that are so different from other places I’ve been to. This stuff was so amazing, seriously, even if it’s not nearby it’s worth the trek.

And that’s it for this time! Stay tuned for more Toronto hot spots when I go visit again this fall. I hope you enjoyed this blog, and if you have any suggestions for where to hit up on my next trip home I’d love to hear it!

Love you all,

Meredith

How to Survive College: A Guide

Hello lovelies!

As my time at UBC comes to an end and I’m facing the real world, I figured I’d share my tips for surviving college as someone who’s been through it all! I really felt that my time in UBC was the best few years of my life, but it certainly had it’s ups and downs. For any of y’all out there about to start university or on track to graduate, I figured I’d share some of the best tips I’ve learned along the way!

  1. Put yourself out there! SO cliché, but it’s true. University is scary for everyone at first, even for those who look like they’re handling it well. Having friends in university, apart from the obvious social benefits, can really help when you need support in class or in life.
  2. For those of you who are super shy, I was totally in the same boat in when I first started at UBC. My best tip is to swallow your fears for 10 seconds and just say SOMETHING. It’s a lot easier once you’ve gotten the conversation started.
  3. It’s never too late for anything. I joined my sorority in my second year, and didn’t finalize which major I wanted until my fourth. There’s no problem with being a little late to something! Age in university doesn’t really matter. Just go for it.
  4. Try something new. Whether it’s a club or a class, you’ll never know what you’re interested in if you don’t try. I started university dead set on going into film, and finished with a degree in psychology looking to be a wedding planner! I would never have discovered either of those things if I didn’t go out of my comfort zone.
  5. Failing one class, or doing poorly in your first year, isn’t the end of the world. I’ve failed classes in my time in university and I still made it through. So many of my friends who struggled deeply in first year ended up with amazing grades and job prospects. You’ll be okay.
  6. Make your dorm/apartment feel like home! Because at least for right now, it is. You’re more likely to feel comfortable and less homesick if you feel at home where you are.
  7. Meal prep is key. Obviously if you have a cafeteria in first year, this won’t apply to you right off the bat. But it’s nearly impossible to stay in the habit of eating healthy if you’re cooking every meal every day. University is busy–use your time wisely.
  8. Take a break every once in a while! Mental health and reducing stress is just as important to doing well in school as studying is. You’re not going to ruin your life over one night off.
  9. Sleep is just as important to doing well on an exam as studying is. If it’s the night before an exam and you think that pulling an all-nighter will be more beneficial than a good night’s rest — it probably won’t be. You need sleep to stay alert and maintain at your best mental functioning, as well as the fact that we appear to consolidate memories in our sleep — meaning you may not know as much, but at least you’ll remember what you know better.
  10. Stick to a schedule! It’s your first time on your own and it can be so easy to be overwhelmed by all the freedom. However, creating a routine will improve your overall functioning as well as scheduling study time/work outs/cleaning days will help you stay on top of things. That being said — your schedule shouldn’t be too strict that you’ll miss out on what could be a great memory just because you were “supposed” to be doing something else!
  11. Things that seem like the end of the world in the moment likely won’t matter in a day, a few weeks, or by the time you graduate. Hell, you may not even remember whatever it was somewhere down the road. We all mess up sometimes, just remember to keep your chin up and keep yourself accountable. Especially if it has to do with another person’s feelings — being kind is always the most important thing.
  12. If you think you don’t have time for making friends, or that grades are the only thing that matters, just remember: one day you’ll graduate and need to find a job. Connections are key.
  13. That being said, it can be easy to get caught up in socializing and forget what you’re here to do–get a degree. Make sure you have a good work/life balance.
  14. Keeping a clean room helps to keep a clear mind.
  15. Unsure if you want a roommate or not first year? It might seem like a good way to have one guaranteed friend, but let me tell you: that much togetherness puts a lot of strain on anyone, especially in such a novel and turbulent time of your life like first year. My first year roommate and I got along so horribly in first year that I almost switched rooms, but 5 years down the road we’re now friends. If we hadn’t had to share such close quarters we honestly probably would have never had issues with each other. Consider this carefully if you’re considering living with a friend.
  16. Everyone acts like everyone matures instantly when they arrive at college and suddenly drama doesn’t exist anymore. This isn’t true and honestly no matter how old you get probably never will be. Just try your best to stay out of it and focus on being the best version of yourself. It’s always better to take the high road.
  17. And above all, this is your time to figure out who you are. College is a short but definitional period in becoming the person you’re meant to be. It’s so easy to get caught up in what others expect of you, but odds are you won’t be the same person after college as you were when you started. Try to stop focusing on what people want from you and take these years to learn what you want from yourself. And of course, most importantly, have fun!